Christmas Baking

We are working on some Christmas baking today.  Andrea helped me make some Gingerbread and Dark Chocolate Caramels. Mark was our “slave” and did most of the stirring.  Tomorrow we will finish them up by wrapping them in wax paper. Today, the kids sampled them, and as Megan said, “MMMMMM.”

The kids are complaining that Megan is coming up to them and stealing their spoons to eat their candy 🙂

Animal Crackers

When we were getting ready to move overseas, I was not sure what ingredients I would find. I searched around for recipe books using simple ingredients. One of the recipes I still use is for Graham Crackers. We made them when Mark was teething and have continued the tradition through Megan. All of the kids love home made animal graham crackers. If given the choice, they prefer the small ones.

This recipe is very easy to make. The sugar has already been reduced some, but it is still a sweet recipe. They freeze wonderfully. Megan knows that her “cookies” are kept in the freezer, so will sign “please” if she is near the freezer and wants one. They are very addictive with milk!

Animal Crackers
By Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers I think;
When I’m grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.
What do YOU choose when you’re offered a treat?
When Mother says, “What would you like best to eat?”
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It’s cocoa and animals that I love most!

The kitchen’s the cosiest place that I know;
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

Daddy and Mother dine later in state,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;
But they don’t have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said, he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea.

Thimbleberries for Dad

We were planning on going rock hunting. A man at camp had told the kids where to find Greenstones and copper. He had been looking the other day and found enough to give Mark a sample of each so we knew what to look for. Unfortunately, the road we needed to go on was closed. To detour would easily take an hour or more. So we decided to go see Horseshoe Bay instead.

We drove to the end of US 41 and then down a dirt road. We drove past the road to Horseshoe Bay so we could explore a little. We discovered lots of Thimbleberries! Daddy introduced me to Thimbleberries years ago (the best ones are in cemeteries if you are interested). Mark remembered when we hiked in Glacier that we used them as “energy berries”. Since there were so many, we decided to pick some for Daddy. As we picked we decided to have some fun and pick enough for jam.

Mom and Dad were planning on shopping, so we would ask them to take the kids. We thought we could get canning jars and jelly stuff at the little store in town before they left. So we picked, and picked and picked and picked. A few cars drove by. One stopped and after a little bit of arguing from the people in the front seat, the lady told me that they “just saw a wolf cross the road on the hill just ahead of us”. Adrian was told that he needed to be by a big person if he was out of the car. We picked some more. Soon we had almost filled my 4 cup water bottle.

We bought the sugar and canning jars and hid them in the tent. As soon as everyone left to explore town, Allan and I got to work making jam. We used the RV stove to boil the jam and then used our camp stove to process the finished jelly. We put the jam on the RV table with a poem and a note saying “Do not touch, HOT!”

When Daddy got back, we discovered that he was alone! He accidentally locked the car keys in the van. Since there is no cell phone coverage in Copper Harbor he hitched a ride back and then drove the RV up Brockway Mountain to pick everyone up. I was not thinking and said that we would stay at camp and get dinner. I forgot that mom is very uncomfortable driving down mountains. Daddy said that this was the first time in the many years they visited the UP that Mom had ever drove!

Well, we were able to help make Dad and Mom’s evening. We enjoyed fresh, homemade Thimbleberry jam on saffron bread they had pick up in Calumet earlier. Daddy had a hard time believing that we made the jam. 🙂

Just for fun, here is the poem we wrote Daddy and Momma to explain the jam. Enjoy! (The last stanza was written when Daddy left to pick everyone up, I ran out of creativity after that. 😉 )

The road was closed
So we decided no
To copper, green stone
And playing in the rocks

Instead the path
We wisely chose to take
Yielded red berries
So we took a detour

Pick! Do not eat!
Pick and pick a lot more
What a fun treat
Homemade jam, made with love

The jam was made
The cooking mess repaired
When Dad we spy
No kids, no dogs, no van!



A Game

I thought that it would be fun to play Name that Caption.  What do you think would be the best caption for these pictures?

A) Looks like someone was experimenting with dinner.

B) Kitchen help wanted! (I will come over right away to help you clean house)

C) Homeschool science can be a blast.

D) A messy house is a happy house.

F.) As Mark says, “Sometimes cleaning up is just cleaning, but other times cleaning up is soooo SWEET!”

G) A relaxing way to spend Sunday evening.


New Favorite

Audrey surprised me with one of my favorite candy bars the other day. It was so good! So, for fun, I looked online to find a recipe for homemade Butterfingers. I found a recipe and tried it.

It is good that I am out of peanut butter and chocolate, they were very addictive!

Now to find a recipe for my other favorites….


Our neighbor came over and told us that her apple trees were full of fruit this year.  She could not use all the apples, so invited us over to pick as many as we wanted.  The kids and I went over and picked a lot!

The apples were very nice.  Some of them had worms, but not very many.  We enjoyed a big pan of apple crisp that night!

We made applesauce with the rest of the apples. A friend helped me cut most of the apples up, and Andrea and Adrian helped mash them. We made one batch with cinnamon, and the rest we made with cranberries. The apples were slightly juicy, so we strained the liquid from the bottom and made a beautiful pink apple cidery type drink. We froze most of the sauce, but the kids enjoyed their evening snack, a huge bowl of fresh applesauce.

My favorite part of making sauce?  When Adrian smiled a huge smile and said “I love making applesauce with you Mommy.”

I’m a Cook!

This weekend the girls were gone so the boys had a special time by themselves. While Mark ran some errands with Daddy, Adrian got to create his own special pizza.  He put pepperoni on most of it, sprinkled on a little onions and lots of cheese and called it a “Robot Pizza”.  He excitedly told me, “I’m a cook!”